chapter  3
William Ward’s “virtuous Christians, vicious Hindus”
Pages 16

This chapter concerns the nineteenth-century Protestant missionary William Ward’s A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos.1 This four-volume text went through several editions both in India and England (the first edition, titled Account of the Writings, Religion and Manners of the Hindoos, was published in 1811). It came to be seen as an important text providing reliable and authoritative information on Hindu religion and society. It also became a convenient tool in the hands of Protestant evangelicals in Britain such as William Wilberforce and Charles Grant, who used it to enlist the support of the British parliament for the renewal of the East India Company’s Charter in 1813, allowing missionaries (who until then were not welcome) to enter India.